iNPLACENEWS Blog Has MOVED

September 14, 2008

Hey everyone!  From all the staff to all the readers of our blog and the watchers of our live news programming broadcasted live over the internet directly to your desktop, we want to thank you for all your support and participatiion.  We have relocated our blog to iNPLACENEWS.COM.  There you will find all our blogs, including the old posts, your comments you made, the place to download our free desktop player and all of the current news from around the world.  Stay up-to-date on all the current events by watching our broadcasts, reading our blogs, and watching videos-on-demand.  Again, go to iNPLACENEWS.COM for all the newest blogs and the older posts you love to go back to read.  Thank you again for your time, support, and participation.

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Plastic Bottles Still Cause Major Safety Concerns

September 4, 2008

The National Toxicology Program (NTP), of the U.S. Deptartment of Health and Human Services, released a final report yesterday about the chemical compound bisphenol A (BPA), which is used in hard plastic products, including baby bottles and other baby products. The government indicates that there is still “some concern” that the plastic chemical may cause problems with development and health.

Bisphenol A is a chemical compound used in the production of polycarbonate, a type of hard plastic. The BPA chemical helps prevent the plastic from shattering, which many argue is a necessary safety feature.

In recent years, concerns have emerged about the health risk this plastic bottle chemical may pose to the general public, and particularly young children and infants who are still developing.

BPA has been suspected of having adverse effects on reproductive health as it is an estrogen agonist and mimics the action of the body’s own natural hormone, estrogen. It is also an endocrine disruptor and may cause malfunctioning of the hormonal system if the body is exposed to low doses of BPA over a long period of time.

Animal studies between 1997 and 2005 have shown changes in the genital tract, a decline in testicular testosterone, decreasing maternal behaviors and changes in breast tissue, predisposing it to carcinogens. Though these findings have not been conclusively established, it is thought that low doses of BPA absorbed into the body over a long period of time may cause chronic toxicity in humans.

The NTP report does not call for a ban of the plastics chemical, but states that further investigation and testing of BPA in human studies is needed. It rated their level of concern as “some concern”, which falls in the middle of a five level scale of concerns which ranged from “negligible concern” to “serious concern.”

Earlier this year, the FDA took a controversial position when they indicated that BPA was safe to use in feeding bottles, and that they had no reason to believe the chemical should be banned. However, the FDA is holding an advisory panel meeting of independent experts on September 16, 2008 to discuss the issue further.

There have been movements in several states to ban the use of the BPA plastic bottle chemical, and law makers in Canada announced their intention to ban BPA in baby bottles in April 2008. U.S Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) has introduced legislation banning BPA in infant products throughout the United States. In addition, a number of large retailers, including Wal-Mart and Toys “R” Us, have stopped selling any baby bottles that contain the BPA chemical.

In June 2008, a plastic baby bottle class action lawsuit was filed against five companies who manufacture and sell baby bottles that contain BPA, including Evenflo Co., Avent America, Inc., Handicraft Co., Playtex and Gerber Novartis. The lawsuit alleges that the manufacturers failed to adequately disclose the health risks associated with the plastic bottle chemical.

Article courtesy of AboutLawsuits.com

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Study Suggests Smoking is Worse for Women

September 2, 2008

Women typically get heart disease much later than men, but not if they smoke, researchers said Tuesday.

In fact, women who smoke have heart attacks nearly 14 years earlier than women who don’t smoke, Norwegian doctors reported in a study presented to the European Society of Cardiology. For men, the gap is not so dramatic; male smokers have heart attacks about six years earlier than men who don’t smoke.

“This is not a minor difference,” said Dr. Silvia Priori, a cardiologist at the Scientific Institute in Pavia, Italy. “Women need to realize they are losing much more than men when they smoke,” she said. Priori was not connected to the research.

Dr. Morten Grundtvig and colleagues from the Innlandet Hospital Trust in Lillehammer, Norway, based their study on data from 1,784 patients admitted for a first heart attack at a hospital in Lillehammer.

Their study found that the men on average had their first heart attack at age 72 if they didn’t smoke, and at 64 if they did.

Women in the study had their first heart attack at age 81 if they didn’t smoke, and at age 66 if they did.

After adjusting for other heart risk factors like blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes, researchers found that the difference for women was about 14 years and for men, about six years.

Previous studies looking at a possible gender difference have been inconclusive.

Doctors have long suspected that female hormones protect women against heart disease. Estrogen is thought to raise the levels of good cholesterol as well as enabling blood vessel walls to relax more easily, thus lowering the chances of a blockage.

Grundtvig said that smoking might make women go through menopause earlier, leaving them less protected against a heart attack. With rising rates of smoking in women – compared with falling rates in men – Grundtvig said that doctors expect to see increased heart disease in women.

“Smoking might erase the natural advantage that women have,” said Dr. Robert Harrington, a professor of medicine at Duke University and spokesman for the American College of Cardiology.

Doctors aren’t yet sure if other cardiac risk factors like cholesterol and obesity also affect women differently.

“The difference in how smoking affects women and men is profound,” Harrington said. “Unless women don’t smoke or quit, they risk ending up with the same terrible diseases as men, only at a much earlier age.”

Article by Maria Cheng

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Body of Bigfoot Possibly Discovered in Georgia

August 15, 2008

Two men claim they’ve bagged Bigfoot, and they say the have the hairy corpse of the legendary creature stored away in a freezer. Matt Whitton and Rick Dyer say they stumbled across the corpse in the woods of northern Georgia, across the country from the remote regions of the Northwest where people usually claim to see the man-ape.

Still, the Georgia men say DNA will prove once and for all that the frozen creature is Sasquatch. They plan to present DNA test results and photographs during a news conference Friday in Palo Alto, Calif.

They’re not winning over any skeptics, though.

“What I’ve seen so far is not compelling in the least, and I think the pictures cast grave doubts on their claim,” Jeffrey Meldrum, a Bigfoot researcher and Idaho State University professor, told the Scientific American. “It just looks like a costume with some fake guts thrown on top for effect.”

Meldrum said the DNA test likely won’t prove anything and, at best, might yield a gene sequence that doesn’t match any other known primates.

Whitton, an officer on medical leave from the Clayton County Police Department, and Dyer, a former corrections officer, announced the discovery in early July.

The picture they sent out in a news release and on their Web site – http://www.bigfoottracker.com – shows what appears to be a hairy corpse crammed into a chest freezer. The accompanying announcement describes the creature as a 7-foot-7 male, weighing 550 pounds with 16-inch human-like feet and reddish hair.

Messages left for Whitton and Dyer early Friday on their Bigfoot Tipline were not returned. They have so far offered three different tales so far about how they came to find the creature:

In one, the animal was shot by a former felon, and the men followed it into the woods. In a second version, they found a “family of Bigfoot” in North Georgia mountains. In the third, the two were hiking and stumbled upon the corpse with open wounds.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Reserve spokesman Tom Mackenzie said officers also are not taking the claim seriously and will not investigate Bigfoot because it not a federal priority.

“It’s not on endangered species on any list that we’ve got,” Mackenzie said.

***Above video courtesy of Fox News and YouTube!

Article by Juanita Cousins

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South Korean Company Clones Pit Bull

August 5, 2008

Booger is back. An American woman received five puppies Tuesday that were cloned from her beloved late pitbull, becoming the inaugural customer of a South Korean company that says it is the world’s first successful commercial canine cloning service.

Seoul-based RNL Bio said the clones of Bernann McKinney’s dog Booger were born last week after being cloned in cooperation with a team of Seoul National University scientists who created the world’s first cloned dog in 2005.

“It’s a miracle!” McKinney repeatedly shouted Tuesday when she saw the cloned Boogers at a Seoul National University laboratory.

“Yes, I know you! You know me, too!” McKinney said joyfully, hugging the puppies, which were sleeping with one of their two surrogate mothers, both Korean mixed breed dogs.

The team of scientists working for RNL Bio is headed by Lee Byeong-chun, a former colleague of disgraced scientist Hwang Woo-suk, who scandalized the international scientific community when his purported breakthroughs in cloned stem cells were revealed as fake in 2005.

Independent tests confirmed the 2005 dog cloning was genuine, and Lee’s team has since cloned more than 20 canines.

But RNL Bio said that its cloning was the first successful commercial cloning of a canine.

“RNL Bio is commencing its worldwide services with Booger as its first successful clone,” the company said in a statement.

McKinney contacted Lee after Booger died of cancer in April 2006. She had earlier asked U.S.-based Genetics Savings and Clone to clone her dog but the company shut down due to lack of demand in late 2006 after only producing a handful of cloned cats and failing to produce any dog clones.

The Korean scientists brought the dog’s frozen cells to Seoul in March and nurtured them before launching formal cloning work in late May, according to RNL Bio.

Lee’s team have identified the puppies as Booger’s genuine clones, and his university’s forensic medicine team is currently conducting reconfirmation tests.

McKinney said she was especially attached to Booger because he saved her life when she was attacked by another dog three times his size. The incident resulted in her left hand later being amputated, and injured her leg nerves and stomach. Doctors later reconstructed her hand and she spent part of her recovery in a wheelchair.

McKinney said Booger acted as more than just a canine companion as she recuperated from the attack.

Her dog pulled her wheelchair when its battery ran out. He opened her house door with his teeth and helped her take off her shoes and socks, even though she never trained him to do so.

“The most unusual thing about Booger was that he has a unique ability to reason,” she said. “He seems to understand I couldn’t use my hands.”

McKinney, a screenwriter who taught drama at U.S. universities, said she will take three of the cloned dogs to her home in California and donate the others to work as service dogs for the handicapped or elderly. She said she lives with five other dogs and three horses.

RNL Bio charges up to $150,000 for dog cloning but will only receive $50,000 from McKinney because she is the first customer and helped with publicity, said company head Ra Jeong-chan.

Ra said his firm eventually aims to clone about 300 dogs per year and is also interested in duplicating camels for customers in the Middle East.

Article by Hyung-Jin Kim
Andre Jetmir iNPLACENEWS

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Watermelons May Help In The Bedroom According To Research

July 3, 2008

Watermelons contain an ingredient called citrulline that can trigger production of a compound that helps relax the body’s blood vessels, similar to what happens when a man takes Viagra, according to researchers. Found in the flesh and rind of watermelons, citrulline reacts with the body’s enzymes when consumed in large quantities and is changed into arginine, an amino acid that benefits the heart and the circulatory and immune systems.

“Arginine boosts nitric oxide, which relaxes blood vessels, the same basic effect that Viagra has, to treat erectile dysfunction and maybe even prevent it,” said Bhimu Patil, a researcher and director of Texas A&M’s Fruit and Vegetable Improvement Center. “Watermelon may not be as organ-specific as Viagra, but it’s a great way to relax blood vessels without any drug side effects.”

The nitric oxide can also help with angina, high blood pressure and other cardiovascular problems, according to the study paid for by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

More citrulline, about 60 percent, is found in watermelon rind than in the flesh, according to the research, but that can vary. Scientists may be able to find ways to boost the concentrations in the flesh. Citrulline is found in all colors of watermelon and is highest in the yellow-fleshed types, said Penelope Perkins-Veazie, a USDA researcher in Lane, Okla.

According to Perkins-Veazie, the research is valid, but with a caveat: One would need to eat about six cups of watermelon to get enough citrulline to boost the body’s arginine level. “The problem you have when you eat a lot of watermelon is you tend to run to the bathroom more,” Perkins-Veazie said. Watermelon is a diuretic and was a homeopathic treatment for kidney patients before dialysis became widespread.

Another issue is the amount of sugar that much watermelon would spill into the bloodstream – a jolt that could cause cramping, Perkins-Veazie said.

The relationship between citrulline and arginine might also prove helpful to those who are obese or suffer from type-2 diabetes. The beneficial effects are beginning to be revealed in research. Citrulline is present in other curcubits, like cucumbers and cantaloupe, at very low levels, and in the milk protein casein. The highest concentrations of citrulline are found in walnut seedlings, Perkins-Veazie said.

“But they’re bitter and most people don’t want to eat them,” she said.

iNPLACENEWS


Watch Out For The Atom Smasher

June 28, 2008

In Meyrin, Switzerland, the most powerful atom-smasher ever built could make some bizarre discoveries, such as invisible matter or extra dimensions in space, after it is switched on in August.
But some critics fear the Large Hadron Collider could exceed physicists’ wildest conjectures: Will it spawn a black hole that could swallow Earth? Or spit out particles that could turn the planet into a hot dead clump?

Ridiculous, say scientists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known by its French initials CERN – some of whom have been working for a generation on the $5.8 billion collider, or LHC.

“Obviously, the world will not end when the LHC switches on,” said project leader Lyn Evans.

David Francis, a physicist on the collider’s huge ATLAS particle detector, smiled when asked whether he worried about black holes and hypothetical killer particles known as strangelets.

“If I thought that this was going to happen, I would be well away from here,” he said.

The collider basically consists of a ring of supercooled magnets 17 miles in circumference attached to huge barrel-shaped detectors. The ring, which straddles the French and Swiss border, is buried 330 feet underground.

The machine, which has been called the largest scientific experiment in history, isn’t expected to begin test runs until August, and ramping up to full power could take months. But once it is working, it is expected to produce some startling findings.

Scientists plan to hunt for signs of the invisible “dark matter” and “dark energy” that make up more than 96 percent of the universe, and hope to glimpse the elusive Higgs boson, a so-far undiscovered particle thought to give matter its mass.

The collider could find evidence of extra dimensions, a boon for superstring theory, which holds that quarks, the particles that make up atoms, are infinitesimal vibrating strings.

The theory could resolve many of physics’ unanswered questions, but requires about 10 dimensions – far more than the three spatial dimensions our senses experience.

The safety of the collider, which will generate energies seven times higher than its most powerful rival, at Fermilab near Chicago, has been debated for years. The physicist Martin Rees has estimated the chance of an accelerator producing a global catastrophe at one in 50 million – long odds, to be sure, but about the same as winning some lotteries.

By contrast, a CERN team this month issued a report concluding that there is “no conceivable danger” of a cataclysmic event. The report essentially confirmed the findings of a 2003 CERN safety report, and a panel of five prominent scientists not affiliated with CERN, including one Nobel laureate, endorsed its conclusions.

Critics of the LHC filed a lawsuit in a Hawaiian court in March seeking to block its startup, alleging that there was “a significant risk that … operation of the Collider may have unintended consequences which could ultimately result in the destruction of our planet.”

One of the plaintiffs, Walter L. Wagner, a physicist and lawyer, said Wednesday CERN’s safety report, released June 20, “has several major flaws,” and his views on the risks of using the particle accelerator had not changed.

On Tuesday, U.S. Justice Department lawyers representing the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation filed a motion to dismiss the case.

The two agencies have contributed $531 million to building the collider, and the NSF has agreed to pay $87 million of its annual operating costs. Hundreds of American scientists will participate in the research.

The lawyers called the plaintiffs’ allegations “extraordinarily speculative,” and said “there is no basis for any conceivable threat” from black holes or other objects the LHC might produce. A hearing on the motion is expected in late July or August.

In rebutting doomsday scenarios, CERN scientists point out that cosmic rays have been bombarding the earth, and triggering collisions similar to those planned for the collider, since the solar system formed 4.5 billion years ago.

And so far, Earth has survived.

“The LHC is only going to reproduce what nature does every second, what it has been doing for billions of years,” said John Ellis, a British theoretical physicist at CERN.

Critics like Wagner have said the collisions caused by accelerators could be more hazardous than those of cosmic rays.

Both may produce micro black holes, subatomic versions of cosmic black holes – collapsed stars whose gravity fields are so powerful that they can suck in planets and other stars.

But micro black holes produced by cosmic ray collisions would likely be traveling so fast they would pass harmlessly through the earth.

Micro black holes produced by a collider, the skeptics theorize, would move more slowly and might be trapped inside the earth’s gravitational field – and eventually threaten the planet.

Ellis said doomsayers assume that the collider will create micro black holes in the first place, which he called unlikely. And even if they appeared, he said, they would instantly evaporate, as predicted by the British physicist Stephen Hawking.

As for strangelets, CERN scientists point out that they have never been proven to exist. They said that even if these particles formed inside the Collider they would quickly break down.

When the LHC is finally at full power, two beams of protons will race around the huge ring 11,000 times a second in opposite directions. They will travel in two tubes about the width of fire hoses, speeding through a vacuum that is colder and emptier than outer space.

Their trajectory will be curved by supercooled magnets – to guide the beams around the rings and prevent the packets of protons from cutting through the surrounding magnets like a blowtorch.

The paths of these beams will cross, and a few of the protons in them will collide, at a series of cylindrical detectors along the ring. The two largest detectors are essentially huge digital cameras, each weighing thousands of tons, capable of taking millions of snapshots a second.

Each year the detectors will generate 15 petabytes of data, the equivalent of a stack of CDs 12 miles tall. The data will require a high speed global network of computers for analysis.

Wagner and others filed a lawsuit to halt operation of the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider, or RHIC, at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York state in 1999. The courts dismissed the suit.

The leafy campus of CERN, a short drive from the shores of Lake Geneva, hardly seems like ground zero for doomsday. And locals don’t seem overly concerned. Thousands attended an open house here this spring.

“There is a huge army of scientists who know what they are talking about and are sleeping quite soundly as far as concerns the LHC,” said project leader Evans.

Originally found @ AssociatedPress.com

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